How to make sure your prices sound right

How do your prices sound to you? OK? When we read a price on a website, or in a brochure or magazine, your brain turns what it sees into sounds; it’s part of the way we read. You may well be “hearing” some of the words you are reading right now, for instance. New research conducted by American Psychologists shows that the sound we hear of the price we read affects our likelihood of buying something.

Working out the best price takes some care

Working out the best price takes some care

For instance, if something is on sale for £10, but you reduce it in order to grab some additional sales you will get more people buying at £8.66 instead of £8.22. Even though, mathematically, the discount is greater for the £8.22 price, people perceive the £8.66 to be cheaper. Crazy? Perhaps, but it’s all to do with the value we attach to sounds, which is then confusing our brain.

We perceive long vowel sounds as in “twenty two” to be of higher value than short sounds as in “sixty six”. The difference is between the “oo” and  the “i” sounds. There is also some difference between the consonants. “Fricative consonants” such as the “x” in “sixty six” also indicate smallness to our brain and hence the shortness of the vowel sound combined with the special kind of consonant means we mistake the £8.66 as being cheaper than £8.22.

This explains why you see so many prices end in 97, rather than 99. The vowel sounds in 7 are shorter than in 9 – and even though the price difference is marginal at best, we perceive to be much cheaper because of the shorter vowel sounds. The “s” in 7 is also a fricative consonant, adding to the greater perception of cheapness.

What this means is that when you are displaying prices on your website – or in any printed documents – you need to show things which “sound” cheaper than they actually might be. So, if you are discounting, look for lower prices which have short vowel sounds, rather than long ones. Showing you are cutting your price by 6% instead of 9% will be more likely to get additional buyers (in spite of the lower discount).

Paying careful attention to the sound of your prices may well bring in additional sales, compared with just showing a lower price.

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

Internet Psychology

Is your brain back to front?

British businesses will spend this weekend on tenterhooks as they wait for Monday’s announcement from the Government about the ending of lockdowns. For the past couple of weeks, the mutterings from 10 Downing Street suggest

Read More »
Internet Psychology

Can you do boring tasks?

Last week, not far from the M25 in Buckinghamshire, the biggest-ever boring machine in the UK started its slow churn through the Chiltern hills to dig a tunnel for the HS2 rail system. It will

Read More »
Fence painting
Online Business

When did you last paint your garden fence?

If you are a “big change” business, then you are like my garden fence. Leaving it unpainted for so long has created much more work, at a higher cost, than if it had been tended to every year. Ignoring reviews of your online activity for long periods also means you make more work for yourself and raise your costs.

Read More »